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The Daily Tar Heel

Bond Committee To Explain Issues To County Voters

Commissioners will try to organize a diverse group of residents to help them develop videos and brochures about the referendum.

The Orange County Board of Commissioners will put a $75 million bond package, most of which will fund schools, on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The Bond Education Committee will hold its first meeting Sept. 5 at the Southern Human Services Center in Chapel Hill. So far, Orange County officials have received 33 applicants for the committee, which has an unlimited number of spots.

"The goal of the Bond Education Committee is to develop materials, brochures and videos to educate the public about the bond referendum orders," said Greg Wilder, the assistant to the Orange County manager.

Wilder said the committee was formally created by commissioners at their June 25 meeting. Committee members were then appointed by the commissioners.

Commissioner Moses Carey said a similar committee is convened every time a bond referendum is considered.

At the Sept. 5 meeting the committee will be organized into five subgroups, including a subcommittee for schools, senior centers, information and outreach, affordable housing, and parks and recreation and open space.

Wilder said the main requirements to be a member of the group are an intense interest in the bond and adequate time.

"The goal of the Bond Education Committee is to develop materials," Wilder said. "They do not state a position on the bond. They are not advocates for the bond items in question."

But commissioners also emphasized diversity for residents interested in participating in the committee."We try to get a good balance in geography, race, age, sex and occupations," Carey said.

Officials said other qualities still were necessary for contributing to the committee's success.

"Committee members need to be knowledgeable of the county, they need to understand issues we are facing in the long term, and they need to have a desire for the public to have accurate and complete knowledge of what the item on the referendum is," Wilder said.

Although the committee will include government officials, residents will be responsible for formulating a plan to make bond information available and comprehensive for the public.

"It's really the best way to help the citizens understand the importance of getting out and participating in the vote."

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